The private sector players in the Indian space industry ecosystem have welcomed the central government’s Space Policy 2023.  The new policy, announced on April 20, permits private entities to undertake end-to-end activities in the space sector through establishment and operation of space objects, ground-based assets and related services such as communication, remote sensing, navigation, etc. The policy however, is not clear on the government’s stand on foreign direct investment (FDI) in the Indian space sector.

"The policy provides the much needed clarity on all space activities especially regarding space communication and other Applications," said Lt. Gen. AK Bhatt (Retd.), Director General, Indian Space Association (ISpA). "The policy will be a catalyst for development of a robust innovative and globally competitive space ecosystem in India. It also clearly defines the role of IN-SPACe, as a single-window agency for the authorization of Space activities by government entities as well as non-governmental entities (NGEs). With this policy clarity, we are confident that IN-SPACe and DoT (Department of Telecom) will work speedily to ensure necessary clearances for private players in India. We are also hopeful that the new FDI policy on space will be promulgated soon", he said. 

Satcom Industry Association-India (SIA-India) also welcomed the policy and termed it as an important milestone for the Indian Space sector.  "This is just the beginning and we as a not-for-profit space association will work along withIN-SPACe to ensure that the efforts initiated are carried forward as a joint effort with the industry stakeholders," said Anil Prakash, Director General, SIA-India. "We look forward to this policy to enable the Indian space industry in realizing its full potential by providing a conducive environment for private sector participation and innovation. It is a much awaited policy and paves the way for future growth in space for the private  sector with an assurance of level playing field and regulatory certainty," he added. Prakash also said that clarity on FDI in the space sector would have helped build confidence in investors.  

Abhishek  Malhotra, Managing Partner at Delhi-based TMT Law Practice however feels that though there is no explicit mention about FDI, the policy is encouraging for foreign players to be participating through an Indian entity in the space segment. 

"For the first time a clear document onSpace activities creates a comprehensive framework to govern "spaceactivities," "use of space objects" – all in line with augmenting space capabilities and encouraging commercial activities in this arena. The intended strategy focuses on delivery of goods and services, using space technology, and for creating a "stable and predictable” regulatory framework for the private players in launch services, space communication, space transportation, and any other commercial space activity, which may be deemed fit by IN-SPACe. In addition to this, the policy has clearly demarcated the roles and responsibilities of the regulators and licensors in this ecosystem," Malhotra said. 

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